A Ridge Meadows RCMP officer has pleaded guilty to punching a man in the face while executing an arrest.
Const. Mike Cardinal, who remains on active duty, entered the plea to a lesser charge of common assault, instead of assault causing bodily harm, which carries a stiffer penalty.
Cardinal entered the plea on Wednesday although he had initially planned to go to trial.
Crown prosecutor Wayne Norris said the plea was agreed to after more evidence concerning the victim’s injuries came to light.
The charge relates to an incident that happened Feb. 21, 2008. Cardinal was one of several police officers who were called to deal with a complaint about a noisy party at a home in the 12400-block of 228th Street Maple Ridge.
Norris said the officers ended up going to the wrong house and Cardinal used excessive force while attempting to take a man into custody.
RCMP said Cardinal struck the man with a flashlight.
The man was treated at the scene by paramedics with the B.C. Ambulance Service, then taken to a jail cell at the detachment, but later released.
Blurry cell-phone video of the altercation was posted on YouTube, but played no part in Cardinal’s decision to enter a guilty plea.
Besides the criminal charges, RCMP were going to pursue a separate code of conduct investigation, which would examine Cardinal’s actions and use of force.
He was also going to face a RCMP disciplinary hearing, but Mounties were unable to provide details of the outcome.
It isn’t the first time a Ridge Meadows Mountie has faced assault charges.
In 2006, two officers were charged with assault in connection with an incident that happened while they were off-duty.
Const. Pat Hughson received an eight-month conditional discharge and no criminal record in exchange for a guilty plea, while Const. Steve Frazer was diverted to an alternative measures program and avoided a criminal conviction by complying with specific conditions.
A RCMP disciplinary board found the behaviour of the constables to be “very serious misconduct” and docked them 10 days pay for beating up two men while drunk in downtown Maple Ridge.